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| July 18, 2019

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TMZ

Beth Chapman’s Memorial Service Gets Emotional Speech by Dog

July 13, 2019 |

Duane “Dog” Chapman just delivered a gut-wrenching speech about his late wife, Beth … and made some interesting revelations along the way. Dog suggested Beth knew her time was almost up in the final days of her life, but he says he refused to let…

TMZ.com

Thailand Approves 4 New Cryptocurrency Service Providers

July 13, 2019 |

Thailand Approves 4 New Cryptocurrency Service Providers

The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission has approved four new crypto business operators to legally operate in the country. In addition to licensing a new crypto exchange, the government has officially approved the country’s first three digital token portals. Meanwhile, new rules, conditions, and procedures have been introduced for digital asset businesses.

Also read: G20 Leaders Issue Declaration on Crypto Assets – A Look at Their Commitments

Digital Asset Business Operators

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has officially approved four new digital asset business operators. Under the country’s current regulatory framework for digital assets, which covers both cryptocurrency and digital tokens, a company can apply for a license to operate an exchange, a broker, or a dealer for cryptocurrency, digital tokens, or both. Separate licenses are required for cryptocurrency and digital tokens.

Thai Government Approves 4 New Cryptocurrency Service Providers

Among the four new digital asset business operators is Bitherb Co. Ltd. The company has received four licenses from the Thai SEC — one for providing a crypto exchange service, one for a digital token exchange service, one for a crypto brokerage service, and one for a digital token brokerage service. According to the commission’s website, the company has not begun operations.

Bitherb Co. Ltd. is a subsidiary of Japanese public company Remixpoint, which operates a regulated Japanese crypto exchange, Bitpoint Japan. It is co-founded by Asia Herb Association Bangkok Co. Ltd. Remixpoint revealed in February that it had obtained four licenses from the Thai SEC but the subsidiary had not been added to the SEC’s list of approved digital asset business operators at the time since its system still needed to be inspected and validated by the regulator. A representative of Bitpoint Japan told news.Bitcoin.com at the time that Bitherb “will begin to operate after [the] SEC inspects the company within 180 days after license acquisition (by July 30th, 2019).” Bitherb is now listed on the SEC website as an approved digital asset business operator.

Including Bitherb, Thailand now has four digital asset exchanges, all of which have been approved for both cryptocurrency and digital tokens. Three of them — Bitkub Online Co. Ltd. (Bitkub), Bitcoin Co. Ltd. (BX), and Satang Corporation (Satang Pro) — were approved in January. Another digital asset operator that has been approved by the Thai SEC is Coins TH. This company was approved in January to operate as a broker and a dealer for cryptocurrency.

First 3 Licensed ICO Portals Unveiled

Local media reported in March that the Thai SEC had approved the country’s first portal for initial coin offerings (ICOs). However, the commission neither made an official announcement about the approval nor disclosed the name of the portal it supposedly approved until now.

The country’s first three SEC-approved ICO portals have now been added to the commission’s website. They are Longroot (Thailand) Co. Ltd. (Longroot), T-box (Thailand) Co. Ltd. (T-box), and SE Digital Co. Ltd. (SE Digital). According to the regulator, none of them have started operations. Further, the latter two companies still need to have their systems inspected and validated by the SEC before they can begin operations.

Thai Government Approves 4 New Cryptocurrency Service Providers

ICO portals are an integral part of Thailand’s regulatory framework for digital tokens. To sell tokens to the public, the seller must obtain approval from the SEC and the tokens must be sold through an SEC-approved ICO portal. Thailand now has three ICO portals, but no ICO issuer has been approved so far.

In addition, the Thai SEC maintains two lists of “website, tokens, and coins the SEC has advised the public to be careful with any investment solicitations of such entities,” the commission detailed. The first list is for “digital tokens which have not applied or granted approval for offerings.” It comprises 21 names including Onecoin by OFC coin​, ​​DB token, ICO by Adventure Hostel Bangkok​, and ​Muay Thai coin. The other list is for “persons and websites relating to digital assets which have not been licensed.” There are currently 18 entries on the list, including ​Q Exchange​, a joint venture between Thai and South Korean companies.

Follow-Up Crypto Regulation

The Thai government’s Fiscal Policy Office has published the SEC’s follow-up regulation entitled “Rules, Conditions, and Procedures for Digital Asset Businesses.” It will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Among the rules set forth in this document is the capital requirements for digital asset businesses. For example, operators holding customer assets must generally maintain daily liquid capital of at least 15 million baht [~$ 485,572] and at least 5% of the customer’s asset value. The percentage requirement is lower if some of the assets are kept in cold storage. Digital asset exchanges that do not hold customer assets must maintain capital of at least 5 million baht.

Thai Government Approves 4 New Cryptocurrency Service Providers

Thailand enacted two royal decrees to regulate crypto assets on May 14 last year — the Royal Decree on the Digital Asset Businesses B.E. 2561 and the Royal Decree of the Amendment to the Revenue Code. The latter imposes levies on income derived from cryptocurrency and digital tokens. Prior to any token offerings, the issuers must obtain approval from the SEC and “the registration statement and draft prospectus shall be filed with the SEC office,” the government explained.

In March, the Thai SEC announced that four cryptocurrencies had been approved: BTC, ETH, XRP, and XLM. They can be legally used for investments in ICOs and as base trading pairs against other cryptocurrencies. This list replaces the previous one announced in June last year. However, approval does not make these coins legal tender, the regulator clarified.

Sunisa Thamphiban, Assistant Director of the Legal and Development Department at the Thai SEC, emphasized at a public seminar on July 11 that “the Digital Asset Act” aims to “supervise the middleman that will act as an intermediary in the exchange of digital assets.” She elaborated that they must comply with all of the requirements set by the SEC and the Office of the Anti-Money Laundering Committee in order to “prevent the use of digital assets for money laundering.”

What do you think of the way Thailand regulates cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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TMZ

Kim Fields’ Planning Beth Chapman’s Colorado Memorial Service

July 10, 2019 |

Beth Chapman’s upcoming memorial service — where thousands are expected — is being run like a major Hollywood production, which is why showbiz vet Kim Fields is running point … TMZ has learned. Kim is spearheading the elaborate ceremony –…

TMZ.com

DNA testing service Vitagene exposed thousands of customer records online for years

July 10, 2019 |

DNA testing service Vitagene Inc. left thousands of client health reports exposed online for years, the kind of incident that privacy advocates have warned about as gene testing has become increasingly popular.

More than 3,000 user files remained accessible to the public on Amazon Web Services…


L.A. Times – Business

Buttigieg’s National Service Plan Would Enlist Millions

July 4, 2019 |

Pete Buttigieg hopes to see 1 million more young people volunteer to serve their country, and not just in the military. The Democratic presidential candidate, who signed up for the Navy Reserve after college and was deployed to Afghanistan, announced a plan Wednesday to create new service corps opportunities centered…
Newser

Report: Park Service Dropped $2.5M on Trump’s July 4th Event

July 3, 2019 |

With at least two tanks now parked close to the Lincoln Memorial, the stage is set for President Trump’s Fourth of July “Salute to America.” Trump, who will speak at the memorial Thursday evening, has also ordered flyovers from Air Force One and aircraft from each branch of the military,…
Newser

‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’ star Beth Chapman honored in Hawaii memorial service

June 30, 2019 |

Duane Chapman honored his late wife and “Dog the Bounty Hunter” co-star Beth Chapman in a moving Hawaii memorial on Saturday.
FOX News

Aircraft regulators will join forces to restore Boeing 737 Max to service

June 29, 2019 |

Four of the world’s leading aircraft regulators have agreed in principle to coordinate in restoring Boeing Co.’s 737 Max to service once they’re confident that technical updates and new training meet safety standards.

The tentative pact is an attempt to avoid the fractious approach taken in grounding…


L.A. Times – Business

fuboTV inks Discovery deal, adds 13 more networks to its live TV streaming service

June 20, 2019 |

Live sports streaming service fuboTV is expanding further into non-sports content with today’s news that it’s inked a new multi-year deal with Discovery, Inc. that will bring 13 Discovery television networks to its service over the weeks ahead. The new additions will include Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and MotorTrend — all of which will be available on fuboTV’s $ 54.99 per month base package.

Here, they’ll join the other Discovery-owned networks which are already live, including HGTV, Food Network, and Travel Channel. These had joined fuboTV earlier by way of its deal with Scripps Network Interactive.

Scripps, now owned by Discovery, had invested in fuboTV’s $ 75 million Series C last year.

The new and expanded deal with Discovery also includes an agreement to renew the five Scripps networks, fuboTV says.

In addition to the base package expansion, the $ 5.99 per month add-on package called fubo Extra will get several more Discovery stations as a result of the new agreement, including Science Channel, Destination America, Discovery Family, American Heroes Channel, and Discovery Life. In total, fubo Extra will now include over 30 channels.

Meanwhile, Discovery en Español and Discovery Familia will be added to fuboTV’s Spanish-language package, fubo Latino which is $ 24.99 per month for 20 channels, and to the Latino Plus add-on that’s $ 7.99 per month for 15 channels.

The deal also includes a library of on-demand Discovery content, bumping up fuboTV’s VOD collection to over 60,000 movies and TV episodes per month, the company notes.

“Today’s content agreement broadens the strategic relationship between Discovery and fuboTV that began almost two years ago with the former Scripps Networks,” said fuboTV CFO Joel Armijo, in a statement about the new agreement. “We are excited to be adding more Discovery brands alongside their lifestyle networks, which we already carry. These brands, including HGTV and Food Network, are among our top performing entertainment networks, and this agreement allows us to extend our partnership for years to come. We expect to be similarly successful with our new Discovery networks.”

While fuboTV’s core focus is still on live streaming sports content, the service has been steadily expanding its lineup to include more non-sports content over the past couple of years. In addition to the Scripps channels and the soon-to-come Discovery networks, fuboTV has also forged deals with CheddarCBSN, CBS Sports Network, The CW, Pop, Viacom, and others in the past couple of years.

Thanks to an investor lineup that includes 21st Century Fox, AMC Networks, Luminari Capital, Northzone, Sky and Scripps, fuboTV today carries a lot of the cable TV channels you find on other TV streaming service. It also offers a good number of local stations thanks to agreements with over 200 broadcast affiliates.

That puts it on better footing to compete with other live TV streaming services like Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, Hulu with Live TV, Philo, YouTube TV, and others. Though it’s still smaller, it has the appeal of the live sports content to draw in viewers.

As for Discovery, the fuboTV deal gives it another means of making its programming available to cord cutters. The company touts agreements with a number of the major TV streaming services, including as of April, YouTube TV. 

“Our partners at fuboTV are building a unique programming service, and we are pleased to bring more of our portfolio of real-life passion brands and programs to their subscribers,” said Eric Phillips, President of Affiliate Distribution at Discovery, in a statement. “This agreement further exemplifies the viewer affinity for our beloved brands and talent, and fuboTV’s commitment to offering high-quality, world-class content to customers,” he added. 

TechCrunch

Mercedes-Benz is expanding its luxury subscription service

June 4, 2019 |

Mercedes-Benz is expanding a pilot subscription service that lets users switch between different luxury models to a third U.S. city a year after launching in Nashville and Philadelphia.

The pilot is another example of how automakers are experimenting — with mixed levels of success — with different ways to make money beyond producing and selling cars, trucks and SUVs. Cadillac, Volvo, Porsche and Audi have also launched subscription plans. Cadillac shuttered its service after a year; it’s recently announced plans to re-launch the service, but this time involving dealers more.

The luxury automaker, which is owned by Daimler, plans to bring its so-called “Mercedes-Benz Collection” to Atlanta, the same city where its U.S. headquarters are located. Clutch Technologies will continue to operate the subscription platform. That’s the same city where Porsche initially launched its subscription service.

Mercedes also plans to test a new subscription tier in Atlanta that will consist exclusively of the company’s high-performance AMG models.

The decision to expand is based on the success in its two initial markets, according to Mercedes. It’s been an especially fruitful program at attracting younger customers and those who have never owned a Mercedes. The automaker says 82% of its subscribers are new to Mercedes-Benz, and

“Interestingly, families and couples are equally accessing the service whether for use as their primary car, for fun or as a way to test drive a wide variety of models,” said Adam Chamberlain, vice president of sales for MBUSA.

The concierge-style service gives customers a choice between more than 50 model variants, depending on what tier a customer has subscribed to. The program has three tiers that range in price from $ 1,095 to $ 2,995 a month. Subscribers also pay a one-time activation fee of $ 495. The monthly subscription fee for the tier also includes insurance, 24/7 roadside assistance, vehicle maintenance and no mileage limitations.

Each tier also allows access to the company’s popular high-performance Mercedes-AMG models.

Once customers have downloaded the app and passed a credit check, they can access the portfolio and request a vehicle. A concierge delivers the new vehicle washed, with a full tank of gas and takes away the previous vehicle.

TechCrunch